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Oil and gas emergency preparedness

Published On: Aug 20 2014 03:58:30 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 20 2014 04:59:11 PM CDT

What if something happened at one of the many natural gas sites in Southwest Virginia?  To be better prepared, emergency responders learned a lesson in gas drilling that could help.

DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. -

Emergency responders, police, fire and emergency workers from across Southwest Virginia gathered Wednesday to learn more about oil and gas drilling and pipelines.

Many have never been on a drill site and know nothing about the process. As we learned, the oil and gas industry wants everyone to understand it should an emergency occur.

Natural gas wells, storage facilities, and pipelines are all over Southwest Virginia. What would happen if something went wrong at any of these facilities or on a drilling site?  Of course there are numbers to call should something happen, but that's for the company itself.  It's the emergency responders who would be first on scene before the company.

That has brought emergency responders from across the region to Range Resources near Clintwood for a workshop to learn more about the industry. "Anytime that you bring stake holders and partners together to even communicate or talk about something where there could be an emergency, that works toward planning. Everybody is better prepared and better able to respond in case there is any type of emergency," Willie Richardson of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said.

To do that the workshop presented a lesson on natural gas drilling and transporting of product through the many miles of gas lines that criss-cross the region. "Make sure that our first responders, our fire departments, the state police, and different folks understand a little bit more about drilling, fracking, and pipelining. So if they have to come to a job site they know more about what it is rather than coming to an area that they no clue what's going on," Leon Boyd with Noah Horm Drilling says.

"These folks need to know if something happens, we want them to be on board. They need to know what's different about a well site compared to something else," Greg Kozera past president of the Virginia Oil and Gas Association said.

And they can be better prepared should an emergency happen.